Les Milles detention camp near Aix-en-Provence.

© Marc31/Shutterstock

Camp des Milles


Eight kilometres southwest of Aix is the town of Les Milles, where this imposing factory produced bricks and tiles from 1882 until 31 August 1939, when it was turned into a concentration camp. The camp is now a movingly preserved memorial, with modern exhibits documenting how 10,000 prisoners from 38 countries were held here. Poignant paintings and prose inscribed on the walls by prisoners remain untouched, as does one of the wagons used to transport 2000 prisoners by rail from Les Milles to Auschwitz.

Among the artists and intellectuals interned at Camp des Milles was surrealist painter Max Ernst (1891–1976). Several exhibits are free.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Aix-en-Provence attractions

1. Fondation Victor Vasarely

2.51 MILES

This gallery, 4km west of the city, was designed by Hungarian optical-art innovator Victor Vasarely (1906–97). An architectural masterpiece, it has 16…

2. Bastide du Jas de Bouffan

2.95 MILES

In 1859 Cézanne’s father bought Le Jas de Bouffan, an 18th-century country manor west of Aix where Cézanne painted furiously, producing 36 oils and 17…

3. Domaine Pey Blanc

3.27 MILES

Under cultivation since 1930, these vineyards are responsible for some of Aix's most beloved rosés. Pey Blanc also makes excellent whites and reds, is…

4. Aqueduc de Roquefavour

3.55 MILES

The arches of the three-tiered Aqueduc de Roquefavour reach 83m in height, making it the world’s largest stone aqueduct. Three hundred and seventy-five…

5. Fontaine de la Rotonde

3.58 MILES

Built in 1860 as the centrepiece to the place de la Rotonde, the roundabout at the western edge of Cours Mireabeau, this magnificent fountain is adorned…

6. Parc Jourdan

3.63 MILES

South of Aix’s centre is the peaceful Parc Jourdan, home to the town’s Boulodrome Municipal, where locals gather beneath plane trees to play pétanque. An…

7. Cours Mirabeau

3.71 MILES

No streetscape better epitomises Provence’s most graceful city than this 440m-long, fountain-studded street, sprinkled with Renaissance hôtels…

8. Vieil Aix

3.73 MILES

One of Aix' great charms is its historical centre: ramble through it, drinking in divine streetscapes as you choose which historical, cultural or culinary…